Posted in News on December 9, 2019
Victims who suffered from sexual abuse often never get the justice that they deserve. We have seen time and time again in this country that’s sexual abuse is covered up, hidden from the public view. However, a recent ruling against a Montana school has shown that perpetrators of abuse can, and should, be held responsible for their actions.
A major victory for Miles City trainer’s victims
In September 2018, a lawsuit naming 32 victims was filed against James “Doc” Jensen, a former Miles City high school athletic trainer. The victims argued that Jensen systematically abused boys for decades and that the school should have done more to stop him.
What did this sexual abuser do?
James “Doc” Jensen worked as an athletic trainer for the school district from the 1970s through the late 1990s. It was alleged that he devised what he called “the Program.” This was a system in which he told young teen athletes that to boost their testosterone, he would need to masturbate them, along with other sexual abuses, according to the lawsuit.
Jensen, now 78 years of age, admitted to some of these abuses in conversations with the Billings Gazette. He admitted additional abuses when talking to federal and state investigators. Jensen is currently serving prison time related to child pornography convictions and coercion and enticement of a minor. He is slated to serve at least 20 years in prison.
Now, the case has come to an end. The 32 victims who filed the civil lawsuit were awarded $9 million for what happened to them. John Heenan of Heenan & Cook, PLLC, represented the victims in this case. Heenan said that “No amount of money can make things right for these guys, but it helps them toward healing.”
Heenan said that attorneys and victims involved in this case are planning on ways to use a portion of the settlement to establish a way to address protecting children from sexual abuse.
“These guys are working on ways to fund something that would make an impact in Montana, extending well into the future, with battling sex abuse against kids,” Heenan said in a statement to the Billings Gazette.
The settlement will be paid by the district’s insurance carriers. Lawyers for the school district said that they “deeply regret the pain and injuries the plaintiffs have experienced.”
The settlement is a victory for sexual abuse victims everywhere in the United States. Every victim of sexual abuse deserves to be heard and compensated for what has happened to them.
This case also led to changes in Montana law. Previously, the statute of limitations for sex crimes against children prevented Jensen from facing prosecution from the hundreds of crimes described in the lawsuit. Montana has now extended the statute of limitations, a victory for those who have suffered from child sexual abuse.
Victims have a voice
If you have been a victim of child sexual abuse, you have a voice. You can reach out to the attorneys at Heenan & Cook, PLLC for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling 406-272-3083. You do not have to worry about how you will pay for your case. We take these cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning we do not get paid legal fees until we recover the compensation you deserve.